Addiction as a Disorder of Self-Control

In Hanna Pickard & Serge Ahmed (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction. Routledge (2019)
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Impairment of self-control is often said to be a defining feature of addiction. Yet many addicts display what appears to be a considerable amount of control over their drug-oriented actions. Not only are their actions clearly intentional and frequently carried out in a conscious and deliberate manner, there is evidence that many addicts are responsive to a wide range of ordinary incentives and counter-incentives. Moreover, addicts have a wide variety of reasons for using drugs, reasons which often seem to go a long way towards explaining their drug-oriented behavior. Many use drugs, for example, to cope with stressful or traumatic experiences. In this article I argue that some standard philosophical explanations of addicts’ impairment of self-control are inadequate, and propose an alternative.



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Edmund Henden
Oslo Metropolitan University

Citations of this work

Affordances and the Shape of Addiction.Zoey Lavallee & Lucy Osler - 2024 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology.
Self-control and the self.Hannah Altehenger - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2183-2198.

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References found in this work

Free agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.
Willing, Wanting, Waiting.Richard Holton - 2009 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Autonomy and Addiction.Neil Levy - 2006 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):427-447.
Addiction as a disorder of belief.Neil Levy - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):337-355.
Psychopathology and the Ability to Do Otherwise.Hanna Pickard - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):135-163.

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